I, for one, am sick and tired of seeing posts and memes and bumper stickers about missing George W. Bush. “Do you miss me yet?” Well, the answer is no, no I don’t miss you at all. I came of age under that man’s presidency. And look, I appreciate that he’s forged some sort of bipartisan friendship with Michelle Obama and that he paints pretty pictures of veterans and that comparably, he looks like Santa Clause compared to what’s sitting in office right now.
But I will never forget watching adults lose jobs, watching my friends parents lose their homes and their incomes in the economic crisis. I remember watching entire city populations of people be brought to their knees with unemployment and poverty. I remember people having to choose which limb to save because their health insurance would only cover one and not both. I remember those living under federal poverty lines struggling to access quality medical care and feed themselves and their families. I remember terror warning systems on the morning news just like the weather report. I remember skyrocketing fuel prices and stagnant wages, a frozen job market and a static economy. Most of all what I remember as I grew up was this feeling of tiredness, of exhaustion. It’s exhausting to always worry, to always fret over the future of your family and your friends and your country and if you’ll have a job tomorrow or if you’ll be able to keep the lights on. It’s utterly, devastatingly exhausting to face continuous financial hardship and then switch on the evening news to hear about more dead young men overseas and to see more bombs dropped spending money this country didn’t have on war instead of caring for the people who were losing everything.
I don’t miss George W. Bush, not at all. And I think it would do everyone in this country good to remember what life was like ten years ago, fifteen years ago. Maybe if we could remember those times like I -and so many of my peers- remember them, we could reach a place of mutual agreement that we are NEVER going back there again.